‘I don’t need their fucking shit
I hope I die because of it’


‘We are embarking now on the change of direction that has been long overdue in the UK economy. We are not going back to the same old broken model with low wages, low growth, low skills and low productivity, all of it enabled and assisted by uncontrolled immigration.’ Boris Johnson this week.

Sounds great, doesn’t it? The reality is very different; we are on-course to return to the 1970s. Alongside a rerun of the ‘winter of discontent’, we will have rampant inflation, and possibly stagflation.

To explain, this is simple economics; higher wages will increase costs leading to a rise in the prices of goods and services. ‘Cost-push’ inflation. Stagflation is rising prices whilst economic growth slows.

This is in addition to having no petrol, empty shelves in supermarkets, rising heating costs – what a shambles!


‘The reality is very different; we are on-course to return to the 1970s’


Any government is only as good as its leader; Johnson’s former adviser and the person who choreographed his sweeping election victory, described him as ‘ludicrously’ unfit to be PM. It isn’t only non-Tories who agreed with Dominic Cummings, a former Tory cabinet minister said, ‘The trouble with Boris is that he’s not very interested in governing. He’s only interested in two things. Being world king and shagging.’

A key responsibility for any government is ensuring the supply of essential goods and services. The fuel and food crises are the result of our failure to plan, and a refusal to listen to expert warnings a lack of HGV drivers. A senior Tory who was centrally involved in Brexit planning reveals: ‘They haven’t done the work. We were looking at driver shortages and what to do about them 3-years ago. Where was the bloody plan to prepare for this?’

This shortages of workers and the knock-on effect on the supply of is the result  of Johnson deliberate decision to cut immigration leading to a shortage of workers and, concurrently, abandoning the smooth trading platform inherent with EU membership system for a high friction model.

After the usual period of denial, and the continued claim that these many crises might have nothing to do with Brexit, we have had the usual U-turn with a limited number of short-term visas for poultry workers and lorry drivers from the EU; too little, too late.

There was also the sensible suggestion, supported by Dominic Raab, of using the 70,000 asylum seekers to help overcome the labour shortfall.

This good idea was quickly rejected by the home office, and its leader Priti Patel, who claimed it would ‘create a pull factor for illegal immigration like never before. It would drive a coach and horses though our legitimate immigration system. We would see people who want to come here to work avoiding the system by just arriving and claiming asylum, before starting work the next day’.

The inflation or, worse still, stagflation, caused by the shortages will have most impact on families currently struggling to make ends meet. Many of them voted Tory for the first time in 2019, delivering Johnson his sweeping majority. Rising prices will only exacerbate their woes as will the increase in NIC, and the cancellation of the £20 uplift in universal credit. For these people, Johnson will be true to form, his boasts of ‘levelling up’ just more hot air as their living standards suffer.

It isn’t just the new Tory voters that are discontent, there is also Chichester, that well-known hot bed of socialism.

As a local teacher, quoted in the Guardian, said, ‘All of this could have been avoided with a bit of strategic thinking. But it feels like there’s no one in charge, no one that knows what’s going on. Boris thinks he’s in charge, and I think that’s the problem.’


‘it feels like there’s no one in charge, no one that knows what’s going on’


Winchester is one of the country’s closest marginals and is expected to become a key battleground at the next general election, scheduled for May 2024. The sitting Tory MP, Steve Brine, has a majority of 985 ahead of the Lib Dems in 2019, reduced from 9,999 in 2017, and almost 17,000 in 2015.

Another resident said, ‘I don’t think you can blame anyone in particular for the fuel crisis, but they should have seen this coming down the line, and obviously Brexit hasn’t helped. No young people are planning to be a truck driver, and I think the government has been very shortsighted. The buck stops with them. You could say, we as a country voted for Brexit, but there were, and now we are living the real reality.’

Ah yes, the false and unrealistic promises of Brexit which gave rise to this column and its predecessors. Johnson wasn’t the architect of this fool’s paradise, but his speeches put Brexit in a globalised perspective, as he fantasised about Britain’s place in the world.

His combination of pompous internationalism and willful parochialism seems to have become official government doctrine. This week at the Tory conference in Manchester, Liz Truss, our new foreign secretary, promised to build ‘a network of economic, diplomatic and security partnerships’ with a list of allies that included Gulf autocracies but not the EU.

David Frost, the Brexit minister, described EU membership as a ‘long bad dream.’ Significantly, whilst he negotiated our exit from the EU, Frost does not feel bound to honour the terms he agreed. Instead, he joined in the fantasy, talking of a ‘British Renaissance’ stimulated by leaving the EU.

Rishi Sunak, the chancellor and no stranger to riches, shared visions of us as a ‘science superpower’, and ‘the most exciting place on the planet’. Presumably, our petrol stations, farms, and care home will all be staffed by highly skilled indigenous workers on lavish salaries, enjoying a standard of living comparable to his?


‘we should be grateful we are queueing for petrol and empty supermarket shelves’


Johnson had already told us that wages are rising because demand for labour exceeds supply, describing this ‘as a healthy correction to our previous reliance on immigration’. In other words, we should be grateful we are queueing for petrol and empty supermarket shelves as this will give rise to a post-Brexit country of plenty for all.

Michael Gove picked-up on this theme, describing the blights of inequality and poverty pay as a function of the ‘old EU model’. The truth is that British governments exercised their sovereign power (even as EU members) to impose those conditions, often demanding special treaty exemptions when continental neighbours preferred labour protection.

Johnson’s failing reflects the shortcomings of populism; his ‘promises’ work best in opposition, as they are utopian fantasies. Once in government delivering these dreams fails on the tracks of reality, voters, who once believed, see them for the charlatans they really are.

Despite this, Rome is burning, and Nero is still fiddling with policies such as:


  • Reducing the courts ability to hold the ruling party to account, declaring entire categories of government action off limits to judges. Included is an explicit ban on a particular, 11th-hour form of judicial review often used in immigration cases.


The Law Society is warning of a threat to essential curbs on ‘the might of the state’.

  • Curbing rights to protest by making it a crime, punishable by up to 10 years in jail, merely by causing ‘serious annoyance’ to the public. If the police deem a demo sufficiently loud to cause someone in the vicinity ‘serious unease’, that would be enough.
  • Imposing new rules gagging whistle-blowers and restricting press freedom by extending the scope of the Official Secrets Act and increasing the punishment for breaking it.


The Sun called this a ‘licence for cover-up’, adding that a society where journalists and whistle-blowers face jail even over leaks that are clearly in the public interest is ‘in the grip of oppression’.

Lastly, there are his plan to ‘rig’ elections.

I have long regarded our claims to be living in a democracy with contempt. Defined literally democracy means ‘rule by the people’. In practice people will differ meaning we need to apply the rule of ‘majority’. (1)

In 2019 election, the Tories won an overall majority of 80, despite only polling 43.6% of the votes cast. (2).  Meaning that a clear majority, 56.6%, voted against a government who, with such a large majority, is governing as it wishes.

The proposed elections bill will give ministers power over what has, until now, been an independent Electoral Commission. Ministers will be able to deploy the commission as they see fit, using it to define what counts as election campaigning. ‘A minister could order the commission to impose a criminal penalty on a group that had been campaigning for, say, higher NHS pay, six months before an election was called, by retroactively defining that effort as election spending’.

An alliance of charities and trade unions, convened by the Best for Britain group, has called the change ‘an attack on the UK’s proud democratic tradition and some of our most fundamental rights’.

To further neuter the commission, Johnson plans to install in the chair an ideological ally: the former Daily Mail editor Paul Dacre.

To combat non-existent vote fraud, the bill proposes that voters show photo ID before being handed a ballot, a practice known to exclude poorer voters less likely to back the Conservatives.

Then we have legislative bribes; the government set aside £1bn in a fund to benefit ‘deprived’ areas; 39 of the 45 towns chosen to benefit are in constituencies with a Conservative MP.

Unlike the 1970’s where successive governments were dominated by unionism, the current chaos stems for the government having too much power. Additionally, the government increasingly believes they are immune from punishment by the electorate for their continual catalogue of mistakes, including concluding the hardest-possible Brexit deal.


‘it’s a delusion, we are just another European country, the Tories are just another party struggling to govern’


As was the case in the 1970s, the media are more interested in exposing political weakness, such as Labour’s divisions, than they are in attacking a government’s arrogance. Right-wing newspapers are often bullies, respecting politicians who behave in the same way.

Many voters like Johnson because he appears so dominant and arrogant. Modern Conservatism, with its affinity to populism, is contemptuous of its opponents, thriving on aggressive rhetoric and grandiose concepts such as ‘global Britain’. This display of strength appeals to male and older voters whose own social and physical potency may be ebbing. As of all things ‘Johnson’ it’s a delusion, we are just another European country, the Tories are just another party struggling to govern. The issue for their supporters is admitting their mistake after all the bragging of the right over the last few years.

Will a return to the winter of discontent see this change?

In the 1978-79 version of the same crisis Tory poll ratings were flat for the first few weeks, then rose as voters concluded that they liked Thatcher’s anti-union solutions.

Whereas Thatcher offered a solution, Keir Starmer, and his party with its confusing mix of green, left-wing, and right-wing policies, does not offer a clear alternative to the status quo. Therefore, as we are seeing now, any fall in Conservative support leaves us with a situation where neither main party is particularly strong.

From a feckless PM, who has dismissed black people as ‘picaninnies with watermelon smiles’ we turn to the Police, who appear to be institutionally misogynistic as well as institutionally racist.

The disgrace that is the Sarah Everard murder seems part of a larger picture.

In London, two specialist sex crime units failed to spot and apprehend two serial sex attackers for years during the 2000s. One was the taxi-driver rapist Worboys, whom police believe committed 105 sexual offences against women during a six-year period.


‘The disgrace that is the Sarah Everard murder seems part of a larger picture’


Police had failed to see a pattern even though 14-women had complained of being attacked or having unsettling experiences in a black cab. One was told by an officer to ‘fuck off, black-cab drivers don’t do that sort of thing’.

At the time, Harriet Wistrich, the solicitor representing the women, said ‘it was not a lack of resources that failed these women’ but ‘a lack of belief’ among police officers that meant their complaints were not listened to. Or as one of the victims put it: ‘You have the procedures in place, now start doing your job.’

Rape prosecution rates have fallen by 70% since 2016-17, despite the numbers reported to the police rising steadily rising pre the pandemic.

Over the past two years, 129 women have approached the Centre for Women’s Justice with claims of being raped, beaten, and coerced by their police officer spouses and partners. One victim said it was impossible for complaints to be taken seriously because it was ‘a boys’ club’. In the Met, male officers outnumber women 2.5 to 1.

The Met police chief, Cressida Dick, continues to be blinkered saying there was an occasional ‘bad ’un’ within the ranks on the day Wayne Couzens first pleaded guilty; last week she went further: ‘This man has brought shame on the Met.’

In summary Johnson is taking us down the road of a totalitarian police state, with a police force displaying all the behaviours expected of such a state.

We continue to bounce from crisis to crisis, which the government either dismisses as ‘Jam tomorrow’ (3), or we have a too late, hindsight U-turn. During all these crises the government, hiding in plain sight, continues to tighten its grip on power and the levers required to run the country.

Last year as a Trump led USA toyed with dictatorship, I warned that Johnson and his mob were more dangerous.

As I wrote, Trump was obvious, you could see him coming. This smiling, messy haired, Etonian is smooth talking the electorate into an air of complacency, whilst his policies take us down the road of authoritarian, totalitarian government.


‘Now, who is that knocking?
Who’s knocking at my chamber door?
Now could it be the police?
They come and take me for a ride-ride’



  3. Jam tomorrow or jam to-morrow is an expression for a never-fulfilled promise. Some pleasant event in the future, which is never likely to materialize. It originates from Lewis Carroll’s 1871 book ‘Through the Looking Glass and What Alice Found There’.


With the Monster Raving Loony Party convention taking place in Madchester, Philip admits that there is almost an embarrassment of content to choose from – ‘it felt as if they were occupying a parallel universe reminiscent of ‘Boris in Wonderland’, and jam tomorrow. Whilst, all around the country slows, and prices rise in proportions expected in Argentina’.

Certainly anyone recently in receipt of an energy bill will be noticing the difference; I’m not sure whether petrol and gas supplies were ever specifically referenced over the time Philip has been writing his column, but there have been plenty of dire warnings along the way, and a worrying number have proven prescient.

Although Mr Sharma’s grasp of basic economics has recently been shown up as non-existent, perhaps even he would expect these hikes in energy prices to feed through; if we’re not looking at steadily increasing inflation next year call me Hertz van Rentals. 

Neither was the fact that 120,000 pigs might have to be slaughtered and incinerated flagged up, but somebody must have known there was an increasing shortage of abattoir workers; Boris will not have made many friends in the National Pig Association by saying ‘the pigs would have died anyway and become ‘bacon sandwiches’.

David Cameron has categorically denied having bid for any of the poor creatures, and has reputedly taken advice from Prince Andrew’s counsel

Boris apparently doesn’t do empathy; and, as anybody that has seen him being interviewed of late, neither does he do two-way communication. Instead a series of often highly questionable statements delivered in Gatling gun fashion denying the interviewer the opportunity to do that very questioning. 

As if the sight of Boris out jogging in a dress shirt and spats didn’t make you hurl, how about Tom Tugendhat tripping the light fantastic with Michael Gove – or Therese Coffey belting out (I’ve Had) The Time of My Life, on the day that the £20 uplift to UC was withdrawn. And if pictures paint a thousand words what a life it’s been; the £201,278.38 she claimed in expenses between 2019 and 2020 will have kept her in decent cigars and it seems inevitable that the NHS will be picking up a sizeable tab at some stage.

The ripples from Sarah Everard’s murder are spreading wide and unearthing some really unpleasant events in our police force that might not otherwise have been aired; can/should Dame Cressida really hang in there?

Considering Philip first referenced the Winter of Discontent back in February 2019 it does feel inevitable that a combination of fuel shortages, supply chain issues, cuts in benefits and a hike in NIC could point to a pretty grim winter, and that’s without factoring in the potential for Covid to make a reappearance, or perhaps introduce one of its mutant cousins; Turkey Twizzler anybody?

Two tracks, just for ‘fun’ – Patti Smith with a very angry ‘My Generation’ and The Velvet Underground with ‘Sister Ray’. Enjoy.  



Philip Gilbert 2Philip Gilbert is a city-based corporate financier, and former investment banker.

Philip is a great believer in meritocracy, and in the belief that if you want something enough you can make it happen. These beliefs were formed in his formative years, of the late 1970s and 80s


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